Who We Are

Doyice J. Cotten is an emeritus professor of sport management at Georgia Southern University where he taught graduate and undergraduate courses in sport law and risk management. He manages his own writing and risk management consulting business, Sport Risk Consulting.

During his professional career, he has been active in many professional organizations in the areas of sport management and physical education. Dr. Cotten served as president of the Sport and Recreation Law Association. He also served as president of the Georgia Association for Health,

Liability Waivers 101 (2018 Update)

By Doyice Cotten

Where there are fitness, recreation, and sport activities, there are injuries! Unfortunately, where there are injuries, there are lawsuits! Providers of these activities must take care to manage risk in three ways.  First, the provider should institute a sound risk management program which includes an approach toward reducing the likelihood of injury as much as possible.  Secondly, they should purchase financial protection through liability insurance. Third, they should use an agreement by which the client agrees to relieve the provider of liability for participant injury – the document should include an assumption of risk (for inherent risks),

WAIVERS FOR MINOR PARTICIPANTS: Statutes Relating to Particular Activities — Part I

 

By Doyice Cotten

This is the first of an eight-part series on the enforceability of liability waivers of negligence when the sport or recreation participant is a minor.

 It is well-established that a liability waiver will protect sport, recreation, and fitness providers from liability for injury resulting from provider negligence in almost every state when the waiver is well-written, properly administered, and voluntarily signed by an adult participant. Many providers,

Duty and Liability (Revisited)

We are revisiting five of Reb Gregg’s previous posts on Sportwaiver.com. Nothing has changed since the article was originally posted. It provides important information for the service provider.

Doyice

by Charles R. Gregg

Readers will find that this to be an informative legal liability article. “Reb” Gregg is one of the nation’s top adventure law attorneys. This article originally appeared on Reb’s website.

Q. How do I run a good program without being sued?                                                                             

Some Important State Waiver Statutes

By Doyice Cotten

Most state waiver law comes from court rulings but many state legislatures have passed statutes regarding liability waivers. Some statutes have a strong impact upon waivers in the state; others are less important, often affecting waivers for only one sport. A few of each are listed below:

High Impact Statutes
Louisiana

La Civ Code Ann art 2004 states:

Any clause is null that, in advance, excludes or limits the liability of one party for causing physical injury to the other party.

Agritourism Liability: A Question in Georgia

By Doyice Cotten

Recently I stopped at an operation in South Georgia in which the operator charges one dollar each for patrons to enter a fenced area.  There patrons can view an assortment of animals including a horse, a donkey, a bison, a water buffalo, goats, and a few more animals. After I paid the admission, my wife and I took my grandson in. At the entry, a sign was posted. I was familiar with equine and other sport liability statutes,

Sport Safety Statutes Can Affect the Effectiveness of Liability Waivers

By Doyice Cotten

Most states have enacted at least one of what are sometimes called sport safety acts or shared responsibility statutes (e.g., equine, ski, whitewater rafting) intended to define or limit the liability exposure of operators of selected activities.

Some of these statutes hold the operator to a duty of ordinary care. When they do, a waiver cannot protect the operator in the event of ordinary negligence. Other statutes prescribe a list of specific duties of the operator.

Hawaii Waiver Law Clarified: Waivers Don’t Protect Against Negligence!!!

By Doyice Cotten

Waiver law in Hawaii has been unclear for some time. In the past, waivers have been enforced in Hawaii, however, in 1997 the Hawaii Legislature passed HRS § 663-1.54 which read in part:

(a) Any person who owns or operates a business providing recreational activities to the public, such as, without limitation, scuba or skin diving, sky diving, bicycle tours, and mountain climbing, shall exercise reasonable care to ensure the safety of patrons and the public,

Should You Worry about your Waiver Being Overly Broad?

By Doyice Cotten Waivers can fail to protect providers for a number of reasons. Often, they fail for being too narrow – for example, having the language fail to include the cause of the injury. Sometimes, however, the waiver writer attempts to be too inclusive and the waiver fails for being overly broad. In a Wisconsin equine case (Mettler v. Nellis, 2005), the waiver failed because the waiver was considered overly broad. The court ruled the language “any liability or responsibility for any accident damage,

Minnesota passes language requirement for liability waivers

By Allison Eklund

Thanks to Allison for permission to republish her informative article –  © 2013 Eklund Law, PC.  

As the dust settled from the Minnesota State Legislature’s spring session, a new statute passed affecting language in liability waivers caused some ripples through the equine insurance industry but didn’t attract headline news.

Most equine businesses offering riding instruction, carriage rides, or other services are familiar with liability waivers.